Europe’s largest insurer Allianz to pull funds from coal

German company holding €2 trillion worth in assets said it will shift an estimated €4 billion into clean energy

(Pic: Pixabay)

(Pic: Pixabay)

By Megan Darby

Allianz will withdraw investment from coal companies over the next six months, a top executive told German state broadcaster ZDF on Monday.

The Munich-based insurer, which manages €2 trillion worth of assets, is divesting from mining firms and utilities that get more than 30% of revenues or power from coal.

Chief investment officer Andreas Gruber said it would double investment in wind power to €4 billion over the next few years.

Campaigners welcomed the low carbon shift, which comes the week before world leaders meet in Paris to thrash out a global climate deal.

Nicolo Wojewoda of 350 said: “As the world’s largest insurance company, Allianz knows a thing or two about risk – and there’s no greater risk for the climate than continuing to invest in an industry that is wrecking the planet.

“Divestment from coal is a heartening first step; ultimately, however, 80% of all fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change.”

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The financial giant is the largest asset manager yet to announce its departure from the most polluting fossil fuel.

It follows French counterpart Axa, which in May committed to sell €500 million worth of coal holdings, and Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund.

An estimated US$2.6 trillion worth of funds had committed to fully or partially divest from fossil fuels by September.

The moral case for cutting ties with the climate-damaging sector has got a boost from coal’s recent crash in value. A slowdown in demand growth from China has driven global coal prices down to half their 2011 level.

Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said at a webcast briefing on Tuesday those who bought coal shares in 2013 would today have lost 75% of their investment.

The Allianz Group employs 147,000 people and operates in over 70 countries, according to its website.

Read more on: Divestment | Fossil Fuels |